Simple Recipe For Life

Learning to Love Spontaneity. That’s what I’d call this chickpea fry up, if I wanted to. Or maybe, Having A Go at Simple. Although it’s not entirely ‘simple’, so to speak. I appreciate simple; iridescent emerald and gold olive oil on plain tangy sourdough, or nutty Manchego with ripe pears, say. But in this sense the complexity’s still there in the level of quality or, in this case, in the transformation of a familiar ingredient into something brilliantly denatured. Still, I understand. I do. Proficiency isn’t always measured by the number of hoops you jump (and who wants to jump hoops anyway; like a pet doing tricks?). No, I’ve come to realise that, in order to make something to look effortless, more often than not, little effort is actually put in. Too much slogging away and you’ll miss the mark. I guess I’m no longer talking about food.


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My culinary endeavours have proved this just as much as any other facet in the diamond that is life. Classical dance did not want my body and, in truth, my body has fought classical ballet back. Years passed with me adhering to the belief that, to reach maximum output, I had to reach the point at which a drop more effort would kill me. Now I know better; there’a a difference between pushing yourself to the limit  for someone else’s attention and pushing yourself to the limit for yourself.


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In any case, the honouring of simplicity is goddam hard. Moving in a straight line without any unnecessary, energy-wasting detours is a precious skill. So now I could be describing anything from classical technique to friendships. Or food, of course.

So, back to that; sometimes I try to minimise, believe it or not. I remove rather than add. I focus on a singular unembellished flavour with minimal distractions. To be fair, I’m often forced into these situations due to restrictions the likes of time, what’s in the shop, etc. but that’s where the spontaneity part comes in and how I’ve discovered its merits. Consequently, I’ve established this as my intention when coping with life.

Fried Chickpeas with Slow Cooked Spinach

I’ve shamelessly stolen this recipe, with a few tweaks, from Ottolenghi’s column in the Guardian. I love this with crispy fried tofu.

Serves 4

500g spinach or leftover leaves, washed

30g fresh parsley, chopped

125ml olive oil

1 tin chickpeas

black pepper

Wilt spinach (or other leaves) and parsley in a pan over high heat for 10 mins, then turn down the heat and add oil.

Leave to cook for half an hour, stirring now and then, until leaves are crispy and the oil is a deep murky emerald.

Add chickpeas and fry for 10 more mins.

That’s it.

2019-01-01T17:01:30+00:00December 26th, 2018|Personal Reflections of a Ballet Dancer|0 Comments

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